Advent

Advent is the time when we prepare to welcome Jesus Christ.

1. Jesus who came as a baby in a manger.

2. Jesus who comes into our lives each day.

3. Jesus who will come again at the end of time.

Advent is the time when we can get confused as it is meant to be a time of sacrifice but everyone is already enjoying the festive spirit. The church calls people to focus on getting ready to receive Christ, preparing our hearts and lives to make room for Jesus, to live as he would like us to live. It is a time of longing, not fulfillment. Quiet reflection, not celebration. The world, however, is already in a time of festivity, unable or unwilling, to wait and contemplate and prepare for the real festival. It is not easy to observe Advent without being pulled prematurely into Christmas.

A popular tradition that has become part of our liturgy is the decoration of the Advent wreath in churches, as well as in schools and homes. The tradition started in the Scandinavian countries, were they experience very short days and long dark nights, and so they bring all their farming equipment inside their homes for the winter months. Some of the people started to decorate the wheel of their carts with green bows and then attached candles to them. The idea developed to introduce a similar custom in churches, with the four candles to symbolize the 4 Sundays of Advent. Three purple candles and a pink candle are lit on the Sundays, respectively for the colour of the vestment the priest. On the third Sunday a pink vestment is used to symbolize joy. Some churches leave the Advent wreath throughout the Christmas season and add a white candle for Christmas.

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